Phone gray market – a change from the geeky to the greedy

I used to be an early adopter of technology, which is a throwback to my dad’s habits. We had one of the first color TVs on the block and one of the first microwave ovens. I had one of the first VHS tape cameras and recorders.Over the years, though, there are so many gadgets hitting market, it’s basically impossible to keep up, so I don’t bother.

Confiscated iPhones at China customs smuggled in as  box of tea.

Confiscated iPhones at China customs smuggled in as box of tea.

I’ve been reading some business articles about the long waiting lines at the Apple stores when the iPhone 6 and 6+ came out. In the past, those camping out for days were the Macintosh geeks with nothing better to do but wait around to be one of the first early adopters to dial up on the latest iPhone.

Seems that the market has changed from the geeky to the greedy. Here’s a link to a short video shot by a movie maker in New York, Casey Neistat, about who was standing in line waiting for the iPhone 6 to go on sale. Watch the movie by copying this link and opening it in your browser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef_BznBwktw

Most of the people waiting were Asians of all ages who bought the phones to resell to fences who then turn around and sell them in the Pacific Rim – mostly in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The video shows these little old ladies sitting on the curb waiting for the apple store to open.

In September, the price for the 16GB iPhone 6 in the PRC was $1,791 USD, down from $2,117 USD for “pre-orders” placed with the sellers who got their fists around the new models soon after they went on sale outside of PRC.

Meanwhile, Apple is getting the proper licenses to sell in the PRC which should stabilize the market.

Over the past few years, I’ve missed out on too many ‘buy low – sell high’ opportunities. I did score by hoarding a few Toy Story dolls and made a killing on ebay, but that’s pretty low tech.

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